The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Saturday, took a swipe at his Kaduna counterpart, Nasir El-Rufai, saying he had no moral justification to challenge another governor.
Ortom was reacting to El-Rufai’s accusation that his Benue counterpart was using the insecurity in his state to attack the Federal Government to cover up his failure.
The Kaduna governor, during a webinar on Friday, said, “I know him (Ortom) and he is not somebody I take very seriously, frankly. He has other issues of governance that he is using the Federal Government as a punching bag to divert attention from his failures.
“Go and find out how many months’ salaries are being owed teachers and public servants in Benue State then you can understand a lot of what Ortom is doing.”
However, the Benue governor, responding in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, said, “We want to believe that El-Rufai was wrongly quoted. A man who has failed in several aspects as governor of Kaduna has no moral justification to accuse another governor. “
According to him, El-Rufai divided the people of Kaduna against one another by allegedly not hiding his hatred for indigenes of the state on account of religion and ethnicity.
The statement read, “A governor who chose a Muslim deputy in a state where Christians have a huge population is certainly not one to preach unity and peaceful coexistence. El-Rufai’s attack on Governor Ortom is merely to make him look good before the Presidency.
“He has apparently fallen out of favour at the Villa and wants to use Governor Ortom as a launch pad back to reckoning. This is a man who has insulted almost every prominent Nigerian, including the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a man who is his former boss and one who brought him to limelight.”
Ortom said Nigerians had yet to forget the unprintable things El-Rufai said during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, saying, “He insulted the then President and publicly supported terrorists attacking parts of the country.
“His statements on the abduction of Chibok girls and several other acts of terrorism are still fresh in our minds. El-Rufai is on the record to have said repeatedly that Fulani people must retaliate any wrong done to them, no matter how long it takes.
“Is Governor Ortom responsible for El-Rufai’s inability to ensure peace in Kaduna State where bandits have taken over some communities while kidnappings and killings occur on a daily basis? El-Rufai admitted paying Fulani herdsmen whom he invited from other West African countries in the name of stopping attacks in Southern Kaduna.”
According to the Benue governor, since the “confessional statement,” attacks on the people of Southern Kaduna have escalate and kidnapping has become a “common crime” in Kaduna under the governor.
Ortom said Benue people did not take El-Rufai seriously, adding, “A man who has no regard for humanity does not deserve our attention. Nasir El-Rufai is a sycophant, ethnic champion and religious bigot who hates anyone who does not share the same faith with him. He is among the very few persons who have misled President Muhammadu Buhari.”
Ortom described his Kaduna counterpart as “one of the real enemies of the country who do not hide their divisive tendencies by elevating nepotism and ethnicity above the good values that have held Nigeria together over the decades.”